Saturday, July 23, 2005

Living Care-Fully

Several things happened over my 1 week holiday trip. One of them was the increasing momentum of my alumni Christian Fellowship. The other was thinking about what it means to be living under a prolonged illness.

While I was thinking about how to minister to the sick and needy, I kept going back to the word care. Words like 'Careful, Careless, CareFree and Care-Bears' came to mind.

The word CARE-FULLY brought about a new meaning to me. How do I learn to care for others and yet living life to the full? It is by no means a mutually exclusive thing. When we care for others, we become more human ourselves. When we become more human, we are living a fuller life compared to a person who only lives for himself. Put CARE and FULLY together we have the word 'carefully' which is usually understood as being cautious to avoid any injury or harm to oneself. CareFree on the other hand implies a life that is near devoid of worries. The saying goes, that "I do not care how much you know until I know how much you care", is often a benchmark for us intellectuals. The head and the heart must go hand in hand. We should learn to be honest in our heads as well as our hearts, more so when they appear to be in conflicting directions.

This thought came when I read about a brother (FT) caring for fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, even after graduation more than 15 years ago. He was chairman of NTI Christian Fellowship back in 1983, and at that time diligently seeking to shepherd young undergraduates for Christ. After having graduated and worked for many years, he continued to show that care and concern, forming an Alumni chapter and using it as a platform to help unemployed new graduates as well as retrenched workers find jobs.

We all say that we have a busy lifestyle. Brother FT continued to live "CARE-FULLY" while holding down a full time job with a family of 4 to feed. Being busy is certainly no excuse for NOT caring for others. He paved the way for many to learn how to care despite a busy lifestyle. Thinking aloud. that is so true. It is important to take regular breaks to ask ourselves what we are busy with. Are those things which make us busy, worth our time? People say busy is good but when one uses that as an excuse to avoid caring for others, maybe that kind of busyness is bad.

I tell myself that it is important not to wait until we are too old before we realise the need to catch-up or link up with friends/relatives. Too often we pay lip-service to "We must catch up with one another next time". I do not want to start keeping in touch with fellow brethren when I am too old. Neither do I want to wait to play Chinese chess in the gardens with kopi-O in hand only when I start walking with grey white hairs with a walking stick. I have seen how my own father and other elderly people living very lonely lives. The time to link up and care is now, for later may never come. There is a very appropriate verse written in Hebrews 10:25 that is often used to teach fellowship in Christ.

"Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching."

There is no need for theological training in order to understand how to apply this verse in our lives. Often, we need to avoid 'Analysis until Paralysis' and instead live out the Word for Christ is the Word. [Having said that, theological education is also important as it helped us recognize the whats and the whys in order for proper contextualizing.] The CARE-BEARS at the top of this post is symbolic as it joins two verbs, the caring and the bearing. I have never really been a fan of CareBears but with this renewed symbolism changed that. Care for one another and bearing one another's burdens is one of the most powerful testimonies for Christ. Live it.


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